“How long does it take to recover after birth?”
“Will I bleed a lot?
“How can I speed up my recovery?”
“Will sex be the same?”
These are common questions that most first time mothers including myself had. No matter how you gave birth, the first six weeks postpartum are considered a “recovery” period. Your body has been stretched and stressed to the max, and it needs a chance to regroup.
Keep in mind that every new mom is different, so everyone will recover at a different rate with different postpartum symptoms.
If you’ve had a vaginal birth, you’re probably also wondering how long it will take for soreness to go away and your perineum to heal. Recovery can take anywhere from three weeks if you didn’t tear to six weeks or more if you had a perineal tear or an episiotomy.
If you delivered by C-section, expect to spend the first three to four days postpartum in the hospital recovering; it will take four to six weeks before you’re feeling back to normal. Depending on whether you pushed and for how long, you can also expect to have some perineal pain.
Vaginal bleeding after birth
After giving birth, postpartum bleeding also known as lochia can last for up to six weeks. Bleeding is heaviest for the first three to 10 days, then it will significantly decrease and then eventually stop. The color will change from red to pink to brown to yellowish-white.
If you spot large clots or you’re bleeding through more than one pad every hour, call your doctor right away to rule out postpartum hemorrhage. During this time, tampons are off-limits, so you’ll have to rely on pads.
Eventually the soreness will disappear and the bleeding will go away but its important to continue to listen to your body and its needs.
Sex after birth
While there’s no required waiting period before you can have sex again, many health care providers recommend waiting to have sex until four to six weeks after delivery, regardless of the delivery method. But at the end of the day have sex when YOU are comfortable.
Sex may feel different and that’s okay and most likely temporary. You literally just pushed out a tiny human. Have a conversation with your partner about what you are comfortable to do; keep a water based lubricant near by; and don’t ignore your body’s limits.
Read my story regarding postpartum pain with intercourse.